Yeah. I've slacked off. Last time I wrote, I said I was quitting the YMCA. Yes, that WAS a huge load off my mind. Now I don't have a bill piling high on my credit card every month (which is great for my credit card losing some "weight"!). Me? Instead of getting anxious about making time for a class, I've slowly, and I mean slowly, started out with a jump rope.

Two days ago I made it to 26 jumps/skips over the rope, which is really a tube of gray plastic with a weight to make to it swing. 26 jumps and I was way out of breath. Today I made it 24 and then had to stop because of...let's just say I have physical issues related to childbearing...but I was barely winded that time. And the best part? It's fun. It's really really fun. I feel like a kid again when I'm jumping that gray tube rope. And I have no excuses for not doing it, except that I'm lazy if I don't.  I'm even thinking of trying out a hula hoop, but I never could do that. Couldn't get the coordination down for keeping that hoop up around my waist. Don't know if I want to try. But it might be fun. Might.

And I'm walking on the dreaded Plateau. 162 steady. I just love my carbs too much, I think. And Halloween is coming with its tons of candy and cookies and (thanks to Mermaid) cakes...OMG. I'll be lucky if I don't gain back every pound I've lost since last April.

The YMCA is no more. Uh, as in, I canceled the family membership this afternoon. Because I didn't get there 15 days ahead of time, they're going to autowithdraw one more month's worth of dues, then stop, so the membership won't run out until November 1rst.

I gotta say, it does take some pressure off of me. Instead of glancing longingly at their schedules, or open pool times, or whatever, I don't have to think about it anymore. That and the highish monthly fees. That I won't miss; that and the previously very slow and badly trained people at the front desk.

Instead, I'm going to take that $$ and invest in some good sneakers/walking shoes and finally get my bike put together after it's been in a shipping box for about 10 years, give or take. And buy a helmet.

Other than that, for the weight loss, I'm on track according to the Hacker's online program. I wobble above and below the line that indicates where I should be if I want to be down to about 150 lbs by mid March. But on track for the most part.

Yesterday, Mermaid and I walked about 2 miles to a local Starbucks with her school books and work sheets, and then walked the 2 miles back in 96+ degree heat. And it freaking wiped me out for hours afterward. Completely! My shoulder hurt, my toes hurt (hence, the need for better walking shoes) and the sciatica in my left hip started acting up. I hate that!   That's why I told her the next time we go to another location to study, like Starbucks or a library or wherever, it's going to be by bike. I need to dig up my panniers.

She doesn't want to go with me to walk the dog, though. Probably because walking with him isn't so much fun. He has to sniff, he has to stop and pee, and he has to go poop and we have to pick it up.  *holds nose*

Dog walking is not all its cracked up to be.
Dinner tonight, which got raves from Tall Boy (who rarely raves about food):

Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts lightly salted and lightly sprinkled with dried oregano and a very light sprinkling of ground coriander on both sides, then browned in a skillet with oil tempered minced garlic (for a light added taste that wouldn't overwhelm the other flavors).

Jasmine rice, and some mixed frozen veggies.

To be honest, I wasn't crazy about how the chicken turned out, but everyone else snarfed it down, and, as I said, Tall Boy kept raving about how good the chicken was. It was SO GOOD, in fact, he refused ketchup which he always uses with any meat that I cook (except taco meat).

And there you go!

Folks, this is most awesome.

It's an adaptation from a recipe on, which featured only white beans. My adaptation came out sweet and spicy at the same time, and it was gone by lunch the next day.

1-2 cups Chopped or shredded precooked chicken (I used leftovers that were lightly salted/peppered, covered with a little honey, and cooked in the oven)
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves diced garlic
2 tbls oil (I used canola)
1 can diced tomato
1 c. of salsa
1 can white beans--drained and rinsed
1 can black beans--drained and rinsed
chili powder
cayenne pepper
ground coriander seed

The original amounts for the spices were ~1 teaspoon for each, but I did it to taste. You  know your own taste, so add however much heat you think you can stand!

Heat the oil in a pot, add the onion and garlic, let it go until the onion goes clearish. Add the spices now if you want: it flavors the oil and the onion and garlic, but I didn't do that. Put the rest of the ingredients in, in no particular order. Heat until simmering. The salsa and the can of diced tomato should add more than enough liquid. If it's too thick, add some chicken broth or another can of diced tomatoes (or more salsa!).

And that's it! Simple, yet awesomely tasty!   You could turn this into a vegetarian dish by adding very firm tofu, or meaty mushrooms.
I discovered another fabulous lunch box! This one is made by a Dutch company. This model comes with the matching containers. It's pretty cool looking!
Remember that $65 stainless steel 3-tier Tiffin set (with carrying bag and bamboo cutlery) PLUS ~$10 shipping on Amazon that I linked to a short while ago?

There's another site based in Santa Cruz, CA that sells the exact same system, including shipping ($7.95) and CA tax (9.75%) for a total of $52.00. If you live outside of CA, it might be cheaper, depending on your tax.

Granted, it's still expensive for a lunch box--but the pieces in the stack are good-sized. I estimate they hold about 2.5 cups of food per stacked container. That's more than enough room for rice, something stewish (it is *not* completely leak proof) and fruits or some kind of salad or snack. That's a lot of food, actually, when you think about it.

No, I haven't dropped my current lunch box obsession.

And no, I'm NOT talking this meaning! Sheesh! (and I always wondered what the real meaning behind that old song was...)

Back to the subject at hand--my dog Goldy's coughing, related to his heart problem, has recently been getting worse. More constant, louder, and the poor thing wasn't getting any sleep, even with the diuretic medication. So, I started walking him here and there, and when we realized he was hardly coughing at all after a longish walk, and coughed even less after a later second walk we started walking him twice a day.

Of course, we realized it was a good idea for us to walk, too. Now, I know walking is the simplest exercise of all, and usually I'm not a big walker; but it's a huge motivation when you can see the benefits to your pet's health. The pup is happier, we're happier because we know he's not as miserable, and we aren't as miserable because the coughing has gone down. (his coughing actually woke me up four times in one night; imagining what it was like for him was not fun, either)

The Hacker's Diet Online is helping me, too. The steady red Trend line down the center of the graph that shows you where you should be aiming your weight loss is awesome! I'm very visually oriented, and this is one of the first programs I've ever seen that takes advantage of giving me instant feedback. Yes, I know that Weight Watchers online has a feature that tracks weight, but that's all it does. This program shows you where you're going wrong, or doing okay.

(the hacker's diet online is free, just so no one gets the idea I'm making a commission off of it! It's just that great!)

One technique that I've read a lot about lately is The Small Bite method. It's a method for portion control, and the people who write glowingly about it have lost weight using this method. It's very simple. Instead of mounding a huge scoop of ice cream in a bowl, for instance (and who hasn't done that? I have), just scoop a small amount into the bowl-like...I dunno, a palm-sized amount. Or less than that.

And damned if it doesn't work. It works for me when I apply it to those really sweet foods/ultra carbs that I am so hooked on--but only so long as I don't keep going back for One More Small Bite. That's the danger. I do find that it's true, that after the first two or three bites, the flavor tends to leave and I'm left with the texture of the food, and at that point, using ice cream again, I have to think about what it is I'm really trying to get out of that eating experience. If it's the cold feeling, a glass of ice water would work just as well, and it often does. Or if it's that vanilla or chocolate taste, well, how much of that do I really need? Not nearly as much as I thought. Because after gorging on a huge mound of ice cream, it's just not as enjoyable since my taste buds are used to the flavor by the time I'm scrounging the final bits of ice cream off the bottom of the bowl.

But if it's Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream? Dudes, there are always exceptions. I have that so rarely now, it really IS a treat (and I can't seem to finish a full scoop of that stuff these days, *sobs*).

And a last hint: if you have children, discourage the baking of cakes, cookies, croissants with chocolate in them, and other sweet things.  *balefully glares at daughter, the master cake decorator and baker in the house*  Make sure you have receptive neighbors who will enjoy the sweets coming out of your kitchen via a cooking child.

One thing that is good for (aside from drastically lowering the amount of $$ in your accounts) is after a while, you learn what your obsessions are.

In my case, I've already gone over blank books and bags, which makes sense, I guess.

But lunch containers? Whatwhat?

I don't get it. I almost never pack lunches for my kids-it's almost always at the last minute, etc etc and have little to  no reason to pack a lunch for myself, and yet, there I go, looking for cool lunch boxes and containers!

Here's one I'm looking at now: 3-teir Tiffen and bag and cutlerly

And this one, which is cheaper and has a different configuration: Aladdin lunch and go box

And anything bento is generally really cute: laptop lunch box

I mean, really! What's up with this? I guess if packing lunch ahead of time means I eat less, okay, I guess I can go with that. Or go to a local part at lunch time to get out of the house. Yeah. I can see that. Or when I take the kids out somewhere and don't want to pay for lunch. That would make sense, too.

I don't remember if I've posted this recipe before, but it's fantabulous!

Source: 5 ingredient meals (better homes and gardens special interest magazine)
Prep time: about 30 minutes
Cook time: depends on thickness of fish
Servings: 4ish

1.25 lbs white fish: tiliapa, orange roughy, etc
1/4 c fresh cilantro-chopped up or ripped (better)
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp lime peel finely shredded (I haven't added this: it's a nice touch, but it tastes just as good without it)
1 tbsp lime juice...fresh is best, but the bottled stuff if just as good, too

1. Rinse fish and pat it dry. Cut into four serving sizes, if necessary. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Grill or bake fish until it flakes.

3. In a bowl, stir together the cilantro, the butter (melted) and the lime juice and peel. Spoon mixture over the fish after you've taken it out of the oven/grill. Serve with lime wedges if desired.

It's simple, it's fast, and it's incredibly yummy, especially if you love cilantro and citrusy flavors.
For the spreadsheet creative types, I found a page that tells you how to make a spreadsheet that will calculate the percentage of weight that you've lost (or gained, I suppose!).

It's amazing what you can find when you google all sorts of stuff!
Let's see. I've been using The Hacker's Diet Online chart and figured out how to use the program so that I can keep track of where I am and *should be* on my journey to 150 lbs by March 18 (just before my 45th birthday, yikes!). Right now I'm edging up past the median progress line, which means I really have got to get serious about monitoring what/how much I eat, and do the exercise.

But I am such a slug. I have been doing some stretching on my own (not a huge amount). My muscles are so easily made sore it's not funny. And as vital as I think Pilates is to making my core abdominals and back muscles strong (and even two sessions helped, believe it or not) I simply cannot depend on my schedule--ie children--to make it easy for me.
Took my first Pilates class this morning, three days after the torture of an Abs Only class on Wednesday, from which my abdominals still have not recovered!

The Pilates class whipped my butt. Actually, whipped my abs and some muscles on the sides of my thighs near my hip joints. I don't know what that was all about, but, anyway, I made it through, and people, it is a WORKOUT. My form was pretty piss-poor, but I was glad that there were only 8 women total in the class--the instructor is this Iron Woman. Five kids through caesarean, and she looks like...OMG, I wish I looked like her. Amazing, really really amazing. And she said she'd weighed about 270 pounds with her current 5 year old in utero. The class heard that and the wows echoed through the small room.

Came home and found an absolutely awesome website that tracks your weight TRENDS. It's called The Hacker's Diet and although the book it's derived from is written for engineers, IT know; the ones who sit at computers all day and have a hard time getting the weight off. **whistles**, regular type people can use the online program that goes along with it. All you have to do is sign up, and start weighing in as often as you'd like. You can weigh in every day, every other day, and/or enter in your weights from previous months so you get a larger picture of where you were/are. It's really pretty cool, and it's free. Check it out!

Also, the Lance Armstrong Foundation is funding this website that has tons of clearly written (though a little old, by a couple years or so) articles on weight management, machines, exercise, etc. The Fitness Jumpsite's weight management articles in particular are worth a close read, especially if you've dieted before and wonder why the hell you can't/aren't losing anything now, or seem flabbier. There's a reason; and it has a simple solution.


Aug. 4th, 2009 06:42 pm
I've checked the new Y schedule that's come out for August (for their new room) and I'm now planning on getting my butt kicked in Pilates at 9:30-10:30am. There's also an Abs Only half-hour right after it. But I doubt I'll be in any condition to deal with that!  It looks like Pilates is scheduled every day except for Thursday. And on Thursday there's a Core Fusion class at 12:30 (that's a combination of yoga and Pilates).

I'm not sure if I'm being overly ambitious, but I am really wanting to get into shape-fast. And from what I've been reading up on Pilates, it's possible to take it everyday as long as you take it "easy" and don't overdo it. I'll also be adding in some cardio and machine lifting every other day. When the spinning classes start, I'm going to be there, too. If it takes two hours a day every day for a month to get me jump-started...

Who wants to start the betting pool? Will I make it? Will my resolve stay firm? Am I crazy?

PS: I've also gone back to writing up a food diary with relatively accurate calorie counts. It worked before July happened, it'll work again now, with all that craziness over. 1200 to 1500 per day is the goal; it doesn't have to be *perfect* mind you, but I do need to be careful of casual munchies. Those kill me, every time.
It's 9:30am this morning, and I was baffled: how could I suddenly be 3 pounds lighter than I was yesterday morning? So I went on a Google-Mystery-Tour and looked around for articles about water weight--it was the only thing I could think of that could cause such a huge difference between one day and the next (aside from, you know, lightening up the load, so to speak).

I found this article, about
daily loss and gain.  It's fascinating. We all know that ingesting salt will increase water weight, but did you know that "When additional protein is deposited inside muscle cells (as in muscle building) the cells absorb four times the amount of water to hold it. On eating lots of complex carbs the muscles store it as glycogen and this retains three times its weight in water."?

didn't realize that complex carbs would increase water weight, but then, carbs are sugar, and sugar, like salt, increases water in your body. Try reading this article, too.

I appear to have magically lost about 3.5 pounds overnight (or over two nights). Perhaps the pizza finally flushed out of my system?

Not going to weigh myself until Thursday. I think this is overdoing it.

In the meantime, it is NOT easy to fulfill those munchy urges when you have very little in the house to munch on except your nemesis of peanut butter and jelly (on whole wheat flour bread, of course).  So tonight I'm making the kids their favorite fancy "macaroni and cheese" variation called "Creamy Pasta with Peas". Only this time, heh heh heh, I'm sneaking in some whole wheat pasta and some endamimes (which they don't particularly like) but I figure constant exposure will eventually win them over to the healthy side of dinner.
Good gracious. The wedding we went to yesterday really did me in. It was really the culmination of all the travel, and wardrobe-buying (none of us had the right clothes to wear to an outdoor "casual elegance" dressy wedding). And there was the "barbecue" party the night before, so, mix in all the travel and pizzas and too much food and alcohol over that past two weeks...and I got me some weight gain.

It could be salt, and insta-calories from the champagne and wine and pizzas.

This morning: 167.

It's a gain, alright. I appeared to weigh less yesterday by about two pounds, so, we'll see what it evens out to after I go back on Phase One of the SBD. And stick to eating *less*. Overindulgence isn't my friend.

Today is the Ninth Week anniversary of the start of my personal weight loss goal.

So far, I feel better overall. The padding under my breasts has gone way down, as has the baby-padding on my abdomen I acquired when I had, yes, that's right, my two babies. It only goes away when I stay under a certain weight. My pants have started to fit again, and that's a big score.

The numbers:

April 16 -- 174 lbs (YMCA scale)
June 18 - 162.6 lbs (WW home digital scale)
Pounds lost:  11.4

Not bad!  I'm about on track with where I wanted to be. I have a lot of family visits this summer, and I was tired of feeling flubby and not myself. That might also explain the semi-mid-life crisis I found myself in earlier this week. I colored my hair. For the first time ever! OMG! (oh, and then there's the friend's wedding on the Fourth of July)

It's been 18 days since I started the South Beach Diet, and even though I "cheated" a few times here and there--passing up grapes and veggie pizza is *hard*, dammit!--and didn't lose the 8-12 pounds average claimed by the writer of the diet, I have gone down at a faster rate than I had before I started it.  Now, I'm not touting the SBD as a miracle diet; all it does it try and change eating habits by cutting out many trigger foods, and get your body on an even keel, diatetically speaking.  It helps that so many of the recipes included in the book are so good that it really doesn't feel like you're denying yourself taste and variety. If anything, it *increases* the number of textures and tastes your mouth receives. I dunno about other moms and busy people in the USA and elsewhere, but pasta and rice are *easy* fixes when you're hungry, and for me it was easy to just keep eating that stuff and cut out more complex fixings. Even my hard to please daughter (Mermaid) has exclaimed about how much she's liked the various recipes I've made from that book. She LOVES it.

Hungry Girl has an interesting take on food and has a readable page on dieting myths. There are more if you click on the link at the bottom of that page. A warning: I find Hungry Girl's webpage hard to figure out and confusing--I have a hard time finding the same thing twice there. So, if you like what you find (and the site makes no sense to you, either) remember to bookmark it!  She does have some good ideas and recipes there. It's just a question of *finding* them that's the pisser. Print it out if you find something you like.

Sugar is not good for me.

I had a lousy food day today--had a cup of coffee with half-and-half, then didn't eat *anything* until about 1:30. And when I did eat, I dove into the last of the Frosted Miniwheats and devoured it. I'm not that sorry about it (I love the stuff) but it really wasn't as good as I thought it was, and not too long after I got a little sleepy and crashed out on the couch for a few minutes.


I've been hovering around 163/164 for the past few days, and I think it's more because I've been starting to overeat (half a thin crust large veggie pizza, yo people) more than diving back into the carbs.  I might just have to go back to writing down everything I eat, but OMG, I get so tired of that so fast I can't tell you. My brain can only keep up that sort of detail for so long before it gets distracted and bored and wanders off, no matter HOW dedicated I am at first.
It's 1:20 in the afternoon my time, and I FINALLY remembered that I need to eat.

Last night didn't go so well, because the Guy and I broke down and ordered a Papa John's thin crust Garden Veggie special pizza, large (because that's the smallest size our Papa Johns will make them now) and we each ate half. Easily. Even me. I guess I could have stopped half-way through slice three, but I just...I couldn't. It was so good!

And of course, the rest of the evening was spent farting because the ole gut is NOT into processing processed flours, I guess. It was a pretty immediate thing, so feedback from the body is pretty clear. I really really can't eat those items (breads, pastas, rices, pastries and *sobs* cake) as much as I used to, if at all. Especially if I don't want to contribute to global warming like the rest of the cattle on earth. Moo!

The stalling on the scale wasn't great, either. It wasn't only the pizza, of course, but it's the first morning where my weight has actually *gone up*, and no, am not recording it-or if I do, it's going to be with a note.

Tonight Mermaid goes to a birthday party for one of her friends at a fantastic pizza place that wood-cooks their pizzas, and those pizzas are *amazing*. It's not just the wood stove. Their sauce and their cheese and all the garlic in the crust is heavenly. I don't know if I need to stay (I'll ask the other mom when I get there). But I'd better have some sort of back-up.

*note: I realize you're not "supposed" to weigh yourself everyday, but I can't resist, even though I know it's not a great indicator, and can contribute to ...I dunno, obsession is the word I'm looking for. And it's not all the weight, either. I need to tone up those flabby muscles.

SBD recipe

Jun. 12th, 2009 10:24 am
I hope I'm not screwing up with the copyright thing, but I thought I'd share one of our favorite recipes from the Turbocharged SBD book. It's really good! And it's vegetarian!
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers (I used one large red one, and that was fine)
  • 1.5 c of chopped mushrooms (I don't think you need these if you hate mushrooms-substitute something else that's "meaty" or substantial)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped (here's where I get lazy again: I buy the onion prechopped at the store-saves me a LOT of prep time)
  • 3 minced garlic cloves (I use preminced cloves because I hate chopping garlic)
  • 1 tbl chili powder
  • 1 tbl dried oregano
  • 1 tsp gound cumin
  • a little salt
  • 2 cans of pinto beans (but really, any beans will do)
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes with juices

Chop up all the veggies. Add the peppers, mushrooms, onion, celery and garlic with some olive oil into a pan and stir until the veggies are softened.  Then add the chili powder, oregano, cumin and salt, and mix in the pan, and cook for about 5 minutes or so.

Add the beans and tomatoes WITH THEIR JUICES. Bring the pot to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring ocassionally until chili is fragrant and slightly thickened. About 30 minutes, give or take.

This is filling!   Oh, and to top it off, use no-fat sour cream or low-fat Greek Yogurt. I also add some fresh chopped cilantro and a little bit of cheddar cheese for the full chili experience. It doesn't up the calorie count *that* much, and makes me happier.

4-2 cup servings.  229 calories per serving, 35 carbs per serving.

Oh, and I went down another pound (!) this morning from yesterday morning! I dunno how, exactly. I suspect it could be water weight. My boobs certainly haven't gone down any. I think I might be stuck with them at the size they are now. But at least I'm not uncomfortable sitting at the computer and feeling the padding below my breast bone pressing into me as I slouch (which is bad). 

This morning: 162.3.  Down a total of 11.7 pounds since May 16. That's 8 weeks since I started!



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